Wednesday, 23 January 2008
The Status of Parents in Islam
The texts that we were asked to study today at the 21st Annual Theology Conference at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem were related to the status of parents in Islam. They were presented by Professor Mustafa Abu Sway from al-Quds University (http://wise.fau.edu/~mabusway/) We looked at some of the key Qur'anic and prophetic traditions which talk about the kindness and good conduct between children and parents. The importance of being good to parents is mentioned in Qur'an 2:83, 17:23-24, 31:13-15. The love that children must show towards parents is unconditional. I found the comment of Rabbi David Hartman very interesting in which he said that the parent-child relationship is unbreakable. Even if a child wishes to distance themselves from their parents the bonds of blood will always pull them together. Another comment that I heard was that Islamic tradition places huge emphasis on the relationship between parents and children in order to make sure that familial obligations are never forgotten in the path of God. A believer may consider dismissing earthly relationships in order to strengthen the relationship with God but this type of ascetism is not promoted in Islam as every Muslim has an obligation to God first and foremost but then to what surrounds them.
I found it interesting that Shaykha Halima Krausen from Germany who said that a lot of the Qur'anic and prophetic traditions are used as a blackmailing tool by parents to their children. The Shaykha also commented that a lot of the cases which she has seen relating to domestic abuse by men could be a result of the impact that these traditions have on children and the outcome that occurs when children feel that they are not able to live up to these high ideals.